Sustainability challenges and outlook
Mr Rupert Howes

Mr Rupert Howes, CEO Marine Stewardship Council

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Figure 1: Volume of MSC certified catch

There are about 400 fisheries engaged today, certified or under full assessment, lending 12 million tonnes of seafood.

Figure 2: Engaging sustainable fisheries

We are seeing engagement from the industry all over the world. In recent years, there has been significant interest in the sector. We now have about 22% of global tuna landings MSC certified or under assessment.
Between the US, Canada, Iceland and Norway, the level of certification engagement is between 60-90%. Without these engagements, there would not be an MSC program.

Figure 3: Growing demand for certified, sustainable seafood choices

We reached a milestone this year (2019) with 1 million tonnes of certified MSC sales. None of this would have happened if the fishing industry were not engaged nor if the consumers weren’t Receptus to the environmental message that delivers sustainability. After 22 years it is fair to say that by creating a market-based program that has connected producers of seafood with consumers though a credible science and evidence-based labelling program works.

The program endeavours to provide a tool mechanism to allow existing well managed and sustainable fisheries to show their governance of our oceans to the market, critically because we are a vision-driven organization by working with all the stakeholders who engage in the program to apply improvement where it is needed.

Figure 4: Global Problems Survey

Out of the top ten concerns raced by consumers only two years ago, the environment only featured once.

Figure 5: The Environmental concerns dominate

Globescan repeated the survey this year, and the issue of the environment has gone up.

Figure 6: Motivators of seafood purchase

Our own survey confirms this trend towards sustainability.

Figure 7: Sustainability goes mainstream

This trend is not going away. Regardless of what one might think of Greta Thunberg, it is safe to say she personification of a collective conscience change that is going on around the world, in terms of understanding the concern that is beginning to translate into behaviour and action. This reaches way beyond the seafood sector.

Figure 8: Mobilisation around ocean Action

There is an increasing interest in the protection of the ocean. There are 212 million tonnes of plastic produced every year, the majority of it for single use, with 8-12 million tonnes ending up in the ocean. Ghost gear makes bout 10% of that plastic. This has caught the publics attention.

Figure 9: Foundation Of Developing Standards

The main issues of the MSC Fisheries Standard review.

Figure 10: Timeline for Fisheries Standard review

It must be kept in mind that the seafood industry is significantly innovated. The Seaboss initiative is a program where most of the biggest companies are coming together and committing for the SDG14 (UN Goal #14: Life Below Water). MSC must review its standards every five years.

Figure 11: Ghost Gear

Ghost gear is one of the 16 projects that are being looked at under our review.

Figure 12: Labour issues in seafood

Labour is a massive issue globally. Every year, hundreds of millions are forced into labour all over the world. This is also an issue for the seafood industry and there is a lot of work going in addressing this.

Figure 13: MSC and Labour

MSC has put standards for Labour Requirements.

Figure 14: MSC’s strategic direction into 2020 and beyond

MSC strategy is mainly focused on ensuring the credibility and the robustness of the program. We also, within the SDG framework, recognize the urgent need to engage more fisheries around the world to deliver our vision.